Hands-On Insect Unit Study Early Elementary

A couple of years ago, I purchased a butterfly growing kit for my son. It was a huge success and he has been talking about it ever since. He wanted to do another one this year, but we decided to try a Ladybug Habitat instead. He loved that kit just as much and is even considering using part of his birthday money to buy more ladybug larvae.

The Ladybug Habitat sparked an deeper interest in insects and so we decided to dig a little deeper and do an entire unit on insects during our science time together. There are hundreds of great resources on insects for young children, but I pulled together some of our favorite. I tried to make sure to include a variety of materials that would be of interest to different learning styles and ages.

Hands-On Insect Projects

We have been collecting bugs in jars to study for a little bit before releasing them. Years ago, I purchased the book, Pets in a Jar. This book has been a wonderful resource for knowing how to care for the various insects that we collect.

Next, we combined our insect study with our art lessons! We use You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels for our art lessons and Nana has several great insect lessons. Benjamin especially enjoyed the Ladybug lesson in the Garden Nature course!

Reading and Lessons

Our local library had a good variety of both fiction and non-fiction books about insects that we are using in our read-aloud time. We also enjoyed reading and coloring the Insects Mini-book from My Teaching Library.

We will be continuing our study by using some of the lessons from the Charlotte Mason Style Insect Lessons (Unit 4) and Lessons 1-2 of All About Animals (Grades 1-2) from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. There are some great hands-on activities and even some that my three year old can join.

They even have insect themed poetry with some of the lessons. I love that there is a combination of reading/worksheet type learning and hands-on activities. They also have some courses for older students if you are doing this as a family study.

My son had a birthday as we were working through this unit and decided to use a bug theme, so we included multiple bug themed snacks at the party. Those snacks could also be a great way to start or finish your study of insects.

Since my son is still showing so much interest, we plan to study ants as the next component of our insect study. He is considering using a bit of his birthday money to purchase this ant farm, so that he can watch how the ants dig and tunnel underground.


I have included a variety of wonderful insect resources below that can help you put together a unit study for your family. While I focused on resources for early elementary school, many of the resources can be used with older students or in a family environment.

Schoolhouse Teachers Lessons:

Wonderful World of Bugs (4 week class for grades 2-7)

Charlotte Mason Style Insect Lessons (Unit 4)

Lessons 1-2 of All About Animals (Grades 1-2)

Insect and Bug Word Maker Worksheet

My Teaching Library Resources

Insect Coloring Pages

Insects Mini-book

Ants Hands-On Science

Chalk Pastel Lessons

Fun Snacks

Hands-On Resources

Ladybug Habitat

Butterfly Garden

Books and Movies

Magic School Bus Rot Squad and Ants in Its Pants

Peterson’s First Guide to Insects of North America

Peterson’s First Guide to Butterflies and Moths

Pets in a Jar

What are your favorite resources for learning about insects? We would love to know what your children enjoy. Tell us in the comments!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Journey Homeschool Academy  15% off through 4/22

Up to 75% off Science and STEM from Evan Moor!

FREE Month of Kindle Unlimited: I have been using this for my own pleasure reading as well as books for my son and daughter and really enjoying it.

Free ABC Mouse Trial: Looking for a little summer education for your children when it is too hot to play outside? ABC Mouse is offering a FREE 30 day trial. This is a great way to give it a try and see if it works for your child.